The pendulum has swung back in favor of this tourist destination as thousands of tourists are returning to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, Mexico’s premier tourist destination after massive cancellations, flight stoppages and cruise industry restrictions due to the swine flu scare. Hotel industry reports indicate that occupancy numbers in Cancun have pushed up to 37.2% as of May 21, 2009 after settling near 20% on May 10. While 37% is nothing to celebrate about, what it does indicate is that Cancun has started to break free from the negative perception casting a cloud over the city since the international swine flu breakout. The hotels in the city proper, not in the famed hotel zone, are reporting numbers near 50% of occupancy while upper end all inclusive resorts in the hotel zone are at 43%. In the halcyon days prior to the stigmatized effects of negative media, international government and private business attention the numbers would more properly show occupancy in the 70-80% ranges for this period in previous years.
As it is, in an effort to recapture the world’s attention as a safe, secure and first class travel destination, Cancun has gone “on sale” via a wide ranging mass media campaign undertaken by the Mexican Government and businesses operating within Cancun itself. Most of the major hotels are offering steeply discounted rates across the board while airline fares have been reduced in many cases to coincide with a “swine flu” guarantee. A hotel based guarantee among many top line resorts that offers a series of free future vacations and/ or refunded vacations should a guest be confirmed with swine flu after visiting the Cancun resort of their choice.
The report from the Cancun Hotel Association indicate that bookings are starting to surge and new cancellations are few and far between for the up and coming months of June and July while flights to and from Cancun are on the increase from the main origination destinations of Cancun tourism, the U.S., Canada, UK and Western Europe, particularly Spain.
Further reports indicate that most “consolidated” resorts are planning on reopening in early June if not sooner.
Internally within the city and State of Quintana Roo local school schedules have been restructured so that students will have limited to no extensions of the school year thus avoiding a negative impact on the national vacation season during the summer months.
In short, the gringos are returning to Cancun and the Riviera Maya in numbers strong enough to portend a break in the negative perception that exploited the resort areas due to the fears of swine flu along with the drug violence on the U.S. and Mexico borders some 1400 miles away from Cancun.
We would be remiss if we didn’t note that all major tourist operations and public services are fully operational in Cancun and awaiting visitors, to date there’s been 27 cases of swine flu confirmed in the entire State of Quintana Roo (less than many States in the U.S.) and that there are currently no international travel restrictions posted by countries that provide the bulk of visitors to Cancun, Mexico.
In this corner, we would suggest if you have the wherewithal to visit Cancun, taking advantage of the change in attitudes by taking advantage in a change of latitude, there isn’t a better time to do so, the weather is great, the Caribbean as always beautiful and vacation prices the best they’ve been in years.